I have been in cinema early this week to watch one of the newly acclaimed German movies, "DIE FETTEN JAHRE SIND VORBEI". I thought I'd give it a try, because it is an independent production by a German screenwriter and besides it should have been refreshing against all those Hollywood Busters.
And it really had a tricky and well-thought out story line, the stylistic cinematographic work was except only a few flaws, good handcrafted work (less special-effects, more solid camera techniques) and it had several different themes. All in all, it was a rather funny fun-movie with an ambigious moral (not to say no moral at all ;) ) and an underlying principle that shouldn't inspire people.
We have an Nietzschean background in this movie that is screwed in several scenes and never truly the focus of the movie, which ruined it somewhat. However, there are other themes (which never present a solution) like a conflict of Youth and Elders, conservative against rebellious youth, egalitarian against snobism and of course, rich against poor.
I will return to that later, after you read the following summary of the movie (ATTENTION SPOILERS INCLUDED!!!). Just one last word before we start, the rich are portrayed stupidly and poorly as the amoral, evil snobs without any form of caring or insight, which is typical to nowadays movies, especially in Europe. However, it also has a true ring in respect of the Rich. They have lost philosophy and forsake it for their own disadvantage, because they regarded it as unnecessary. That's why the hostage Bernd cannot defend his position properly against the terrorist youth that confronts him with philosophic problems of todays world.
Let's start with a brief summary:
******* SPOILERS (DON'T READ IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE) *********
There are three young people, I'd say in the mid-twenties. Two male and one female, they are all into alternative way of living and they demonstrate against Sweatshops and the society in general. In the beginning of the movie, we see a few idealist youths(with the girl in the scene as a newly hired recruit for the anti-sweatshop demo) having a demonstration against violation of human rights and the unjust habits of the richt western-world against the so-called 3rd World.
This short scene is very important for the whole theme of the movie, so I will explain it in detail.
We see some of the young idealist enter a shop for shoes which have been produced (at least, the young ones proclaim it) in Indonesia by child labor. They try to convince some costumers, also young people, to boykott those products of the unjust capitalism of greed. The owner of the shop slowly, but forcefully, albeit formal and polite, pushs them to the door. There a German police unit already waited for those punks and they get beaten inside a police van.
Now, the story continues, when we see that Jule (the girl) moves to the apartment of the two boys Jan and Peter. Peter is her boyfriend so this is alright. Lisa works as a waitress part-times and had to sold her apartment due to unpaid bills. She also owes a debt to a rich person of about 96000 Euro. Lisa believes that her future life is destroyed by that money, although she never knew what to do with her life, later she admits that she only wanted to live from moment to moment.
We don't know what Jan does for a living, but Peter works for a security company and they break into houses which are equipped with security installations of former company. They don't steal anything, but instead they rearrange all the couches, chairs, paintings, pictures, sculptures and so on. They are rather creative in it and show a certain amount of style.
Then they leave a message behind, in form of a letter, that either says:
"Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei" or "Sie sind zu reich" (The good years are over or You are too rich)
Those flyers are always signed with "Die Erziehungsberechtigten" (The Guardians). They do this, at least they give that reason, to change the world, to give birth to a more social conscience to those who don't have as much money.
Now, Lisa falls in love with Jan after some time and they break into the house of the person, which Lisa owes the money to. Of course, Peter doesn't know anything about it, because he is in Spain at that time. They not only rearrange the furnitures this time, but also leave a trail of destruction in the house. However, when they leave the house, they forget Lisa's cell-phone at the place.
When Peter returned from Spain, Lisa and Jan don't tell him, but decide to get the phone by themselves. This turns out to be a bad idea. While they are inside, the owner of the house "Bernd" returns and Lisa get caught on first sight. He remembers her, but can't alarm the police, because Jan hits him unconscious. They call Peter and the burglary turns into a kidnapping. They take Bernd as a hostage and flee to a mountain log cabin.
There the relationship between Lisa and Peter collapse, because she finally admits herself to love Jan. However, they reunite after some hours and at last they even get friends with Bernd. He understands their motives, but not their means. The hostage is reminded of his own youth as a member of the 60s movement and his rebellion against the state.
At last, they apologize and return him to his home, where he swears not to call the police and to rethink the 96000 euro debt of Lisa. However, as soon as the three kids left, he becomes thoughtful and falls back in his conservative role. Meanwhile the three youngsters finally decide to go on with their job to wake up the world against the capitalist greed.
Next day, the police is in front of the apartment where they lived. The special forces units rushes in but finds the place abandoned. A letter is pinned to the wall:
"Manche Menschen ändern sich nie!" (= Some people don't change!)
We see an intercut with Bernd in the police car, guiltly sneeking around.
Then we see the three young people in a spanish hotel, checking out. They take Bernd's mediterranian Yacht and rush of into the sunlight to a distant island, in order to cut three satelite transmission towers, which would end the TV transmission to all the people in Europe for days.
********* END OF SUMMARY ***********
You will see that this is a huge source not only for political philosophy, or political argumentations, but also for philosophy, psychology and several other interesting viewpoints. The amount of relativist moral, subjectivism, utilitarism, altruism and other new-age socialism parts, common to the "NEW" Berlin generation, is very high. But instead of informing the audience of the socialist background, Daniel Brühl (playing in "Good-Bye, Lenin!") this times plays the young rebel with a Che Guevarian inspirationism.
Since it is late, I will continue depicting the amorality of the movie and the rich-bashing that is so common in Germany and the sources for that when I have time at hand.